Rossland City Council, on August 11 dealt with the issue of a zoning amendment bylaw relating to the old Cook Avenue School site. The proposed bylaw sought to change the site from a public–institutional, to a mixed density residential designation. First and second reading had been given to the bylaw on July 14.
Density of development was a key point of discussion on the agenda item, including comments from developer Cezary Ksiazek who vigorously promoted higher allowable density, expressing the feeling that the Official Community Plan (OCP) “…was created to grow the City of Rossland and attract more people.”
In basic terms, some just wanted higher density than what the city was proposing for the site.
Addressing council, Mr. Ksiazek produced numerous documents, and drew attention to a letter from the Rossland Chamber of Commerce, supporting his push toward a trend to higher densities in general.
The letter, from Chamber president Dan Eheler, states, in part, “His (Ksiazek’s) plan is to build multi-family town homes with affordability in mind to keep costs as low as possible to attract young families.”
As the matter was further discussed, Councillor Cary Fisher pointed out that he’d heard residents, at different times, speak in favour of higher residential densities only to change their minds if a development was proposed close to their homes.
The councillor also touched upon the benefits of affordable housing, how greater densities can mean lower home prices and, subsequently, an increase in young families or people looking to start families. He bemoaned the negative trend illustrated by a series of school closures in the area. Contacted the next day, he clarified that while talking about higher densities, he had a gradual, strictly controlled scenario in mind, “…not like putting up a 10-story condo in the middle of a residential neighbourhood,” he said.
The issue, by way of zoning amendment bylaws 2563 and 2573 (allowing for lower densities than some had hoped for) received third reading and adoption.
In other council business:
• A request from Rossland Property Investments to be relieved of a commitment to provide about two hectares of parkland above the Wagon Road, was approved.
• Council approved a request for a new waterline to be installed at 1990 Columbia Avenue.
• Council agreed to postpone the Spokane Street capital project until 2015, and that $82,225 (including a 15 per cent contingency) is allocated to replace the Pinewood water line in 2014.
• And, council voted to allocate $60,000 from this year’s budget to complete the engineered drawings for the Queen Street Wall Capital Project in order to tender the project by February, 2015.